Louisiana Creole cuisine

Louisiana Creole cuisine
Dishes typical of Creole food
Creole Jambalaya with shrimp, ham, tomato, and Andouille sausage.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana which blends French,[1] Spanish,[1] Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Asian Indian, Native American,[1] and African influences,[1] as well as general Southern cuisine. It is similar to Cajun cuisine in ingredients (such as the holy trinity), but the important distinction is that Cajun cuisine arose from the more rustic, provincial French cooking adapted by the Acadians to Louisiana ingredients, whereas the cooking of the Louisiana Creoles tended more toward classical European styles adapted to local foodstuffs. Broadly speaking, the French influence in Cajun cuisine is descended from various French Provincial cuisines of the peasantry, while Creole cuisine evolved in the homes of well-to-do aristocrats, or those who imitated their lifestyle. Although the Creole cuisine is closely identified with New Orleans culture today, much of it evolved in the country plantation estates so beloved of the pre-Civil War Creoles.[2] (Despite its aristocratic French roots, Creole cuisine does not include Garde Manger or other extremely lavish styles of the Classical Paris cuisine.)

Contents

Overview

The Spanish, Italian, and Canarian influences on Creole cuisine were in the heat of the peppers, the wide usage of citrus juice marinades, the supreme importance of rice, and the introduction of beans. The Spaniards and the Italians also used tomatoes extensively, which had not been a frequent ingredient in the earlier French era. Pasta and tomato sauces arrived during the period when New Orleans was a popular destination for Italian, and Greek immigrants (roughly, 1815 to 1925). Many Italians and Greeks became grocers, bakers, cheese makers and orchard farmers, and so influenced the Creole cuisine in New Orleans and its suburbs. The African and Indian influences, which were extensive, came about because many of the servants were either African-American or Asian Indian American, as were many of the cooks in restaurants and cafes.

The first French, Spanish and Portuguese Creole cookbooks date back to the era before the Louisiana Purchase. The first Creole cookbook in English was La Cuisine Creole: A Collection of Culinary Recipes, From Leading Chefs and Noted Creole Housewives, Who Have Made New Orleans Famous For Its Cuisine, written by Lafcadio Hearn and published in 1885.[3]

By that time Creole was already an identifiable regional cuisine recognized outside Louisiana: for example, an 1882 Florida hotel menu now in the New York Public Library's collection offered "Chicken Saute, á la Creole."[4]

Starting in the 1980s, Cajun influence became important, spurred by the popular restaurant of Chef Paul Prudhomme. A national interest in Cajun cooking developed, and many tourists went to New Orleans expecting to find Cajun food there (being unaware that the city was culturally and geographically separate from Acadiana), so entrepreneurs opened or rebranded restaurants to meet this demand. The "New New Orleans Cooking" of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse includes both Cajun and Creole dishes. In his writings and TV shows, Lagasse both draws the distinction between Cajun and Creole and explains where they overlap.[5]

With the rise of southern American Cooking in the 1980s, a New Creole (or Nouvelle Creole) strain began to emerge. This movement is characterized in part by a renewed emphasis on fresh ingredients and lighter preparations, and in part by an outreach to other culinary traditions, including Cajun, Southern, Southwestern, and to a lesser degree Southeast Asian. While the Cajun food craze eventually passed, Modern Creole has remained as a predominant force in most major New Orleans restaurants.

Classic dishes

Oysters Rockefeller

Appetizers

Soups

Southern Oxtail Soup

Main dishes

Lobster creole
Crawfish étouffée, served at a restaurant in New Orleans.

Side Dishes

Desserts

Austin Leslie's Creole bread pudding with vanilla whiskey sauce, from the late Pampy's Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana

Beverages

Breakfast

Eggs Sardou with gulf shrimp added and grits on the side

See also

New Orleans restaurants

References

  1. ^ a b c d Beggs, Cindy, Gipson, Bridget, Shaw, Sherrie. "Cajun and Creole Cuisine." University of West Florida. Accessed July 2011.
  2. ^ George Washington Cable, The Creoles of Louisiana, Pelican Press, ISBN 1565547527
  3. ^ The full text and page images can be found at Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project.
  4. ^ "Windsor Hotel" restaurant (Jacksonville, Florida) menu dated January 5, 1882, item: "Chicken Saute, á la Creole"
  5. ^ Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's NEW New Orleans Cooking, William Morrow, ISBN 0688112846

External links


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